Lauderhill (Florida): Fast bowler Navdeep Saini said he could not believe himself when he was given the India cap to play in the first T20 International against the West Indies, in Lauderhill, Florida, on Saturday.
The 26-year-old pacer starred in India’s four-wicket victory by taking three wickets for 17 runs.
He was adjudged man-of-the-match for his remarkable bowling which saw India reduce West Indies to 95 for 9.
India made heavy weather of the modest run chase before pulling off the win with 2.4 overs to spare.
“When I received the India cap (on Saturday morning), I could not believe that today is the day which I was waiting for,” Saini told his senior pace colleague Bhuvneshwar Kumar in an interview posted on the BCCI’s Twitter handle.
Saini got two of his three wickets — Nicholas Puran and Shimron Hetmyer – off two deliveries in the fifth over of the West Indies innings. But he could not get a hat-trick as Rovman Powell left alone the next delivery.
Asked what was in his mind while bowling the hat-trick ball, he said, “My confidence was low initially as I was having the pressure of making the debut. The first wicket cleared the pressure. Then, when I got the second wicket my confidence built and I felt like I was playing a normal match.”
“When I was to bowl the hat-trick ball, I felt like it is something which I have been seeing others do, it is happening to me. Then, I was focussing on how to take the wicket,” added the Haryana-born Saini, who plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit.
Saini’s third wicket — Kieron Pollard (LBW) — in the final over of the West Indies innings — came from a review on the demand of wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant after the umpire said not out.
Asked about it, he said, “I thought it was not out and on appeal, the umpire also said not out. But Virat paji took the review, he said ‘there is a review left for us and why to waste it, you never know it may be out also’.
“I was not sure whether I will get that wicket. But I was so happy when Pollard was adjudged out after the review.”
Asked about the tattoo on his left hand which depicted a wolf, Saini said, “During my childhood, I and my big brother used to watch a lot of movies on wolves. That is why I have this tattoo.”